Sucks to your ass-mar!

School has been suspended until next year to give way to Christmas vacation. The weeks leading up to the break have been unusually full of activity for me as well as for my classmates. I and my colleagues in the school paper were in a frenzy for almost a month preparing to send our first (and probably only) issue to the press, but thankfully all the copyreading has been done and the layout finalized and the paper is now ready for printing. Now that that’s all over with, I can finally sit down to blog.

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Of Mice and Men by John SteinbeckA quick update on my reading. My journey through the classics of literature continues. I finished reading two notable works since my last blog post—”Lord of the Flies” by William Golding and “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. Both were very interesting and very impeccably written.

“Lord of the Flies” plays on the concept of man’s inherent savagery which surfaces in the absence of order (which is to say, when man is stripped down to his bare essentials). I found it very easy to root for Ralph and despise Jack throughout the story. The gripping finale, when rescue arrives on the island just as Ralph is about to be killed by Jack and his men, manages to be both amusing and sobering at the same time. Golding succeeds in demonstrating through the novel the immutable fact that man is cruel and savage by nature.

“Of Mice and Men”, meanwhile, paints a pitiful yet inexplicably beautiful picture of America during the Depression. I can only imagine George and Lennie in their soiled clothes, denim jumpers and tattered straw hats bucking barley in a California ranch, dreaming of a carefree life tending to rabbits and living in their own simple home. The saddening truth that the farmhands will never earn enough money to realize their ambition is rivaled only by their admirable ability to believe otherwise. Also remarkable is the irony that breathes life into the two protagonists’ partnership. Imagine a heavyset man who often acts like a child taking orders from a short, wiry fellow who talks to him condescendingly.

Allow me a brief moment of unbridled sexism so I can mention the matter of Curley’s wife. A solitary woman in a masculine world is bound to cause trouble—Curley’s wife is definite proof of that. Only she and her locks of smooth, silky hair are able to lay waste to George and Lennie’s humble dreams of hakuna matata. This concept is far from new, of course (Genesis is an enduring example of how woman is often thought of as mankind’s ticket to damnation), but no portrayal of the idea I’ve read—so far, at least—is quite as heartbreaking as Steinbeck’s in “Of Mice and Men”.

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My dad started teaching me the basics of driving recently. I’ve been doing most of my practice driving on the relatively deserted city bypass road—mostly just learning when and how to switch gears, all the basic stuff. On two occasions my dad let me drive the family car on long (long for me anyway) stretches of national highway. One time, I lost my concentration to the frenzy of a busy intersection—I had come to a full stop to allow perpendicular traffic to pass, and when I was clear to go, I switched to second gear directly from neutral (from a full stop, you must always go from neutral to first). Of course my engine shut off on me.

My three-point turn skills need more sharpening and I’m yet to learn to parallel-park.

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In nine days, we will bid adieu to 2009 and say hello to 2010. 2009 was a crazy year, wasn’t it? We said goodbye to too many influential people (MJ, Tita Cory and Ka Erdy, to name a few), went through Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and stood witness to a vicious murder that was committed in the name of greed, power and money. The year that was 2009 was nothing short of trying for the Filipino, but we successfully braved the storm as we always do, looking forward to the promise that the new year brings.

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We had our annual year-end Thanksgiving at church today. I certainly have so, so many things I am thankful for and it is impossible to name each one. More impossible still is to fully repay the good Lord for the boundless blessings He has showered upon me, my family, and the Church throughout the year. Glory be to God!

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[Image credits: “Of Mice and Men” book cover from Wikipedia]

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